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Photo by: Defense Ministry
126 security personnel died in service in past year
By YAAKOV KATZ
04/22/2012
Netanyahu to propose NIS 40 million memorial hall at Mount Herzl to honor nation's fallen.
 
When the nation bows its head Tuesday evening for Remembrance Day it will be mourning the 22,993 servicemen and women who fell defending the Land of Israel since 1860 – the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City walls to settle other parts of the country.

In the past year, 126 soldiers and other security personnel died in service of the state. Remembrance Day officially begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, when a one-minute siren will sound across the country. President Shimon Peres will open the official ceremony at the Western Wall attended by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz as well as representatives of bereaved parents.

On Wednesday, the main memorial will take place at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery. A two-minute siren will sound at 11 a.m. and a ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence will take place at the Mahal memorial near the Sha’ar Hagai junction, west of the capital.

Ceremonies will be held at an additional 44 cemeteries around the country. The Defense Ministry expects more than 1.5 million people to visit cemeteries throughout the day.

In honor of Remembrance Day, the ministry has placed a miniature flag and black ribbon on the graves of all the soldiers in military cemeteries across the country.

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On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bring to the cabinet a proposal to establish a memorial hall at Mount Herzl to honor the nation’s fallen. The hall will cost an estimated NIS 40 million, half of which will come from the defense budget. It will be built in the shape of a torch rising some 18 meters where a fire will burn all year long.

The walls of the hall will be lined with bricks with the names of fallen soldiers engraved on them in chronological order.

This is the ninth year that the Defense Ministry has provided a service to help people locate the graves of their loved ones. It not only provides the block and parcel of a grave, but also gives a map of the best route to take from the gate of the military cemetery. The ministry has also purchased more than one million flowers, which it will distribute free at the state cemeteries.

The service is available on a website sponsored by the ministry’s Department for Commemorating Soldiers and programmed by a civilian firm at www.izkor.gov.il.
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